Posts : 27
Join date : 2013-10-26
Age : 62
Location : RED ROCK (AKA BURBANK, CA)
|"AGAINST THE ODDS" ~ ALTERNATE ENDING|| |
"AGAINST THE ODDS" ~ ALTERNATE ENDING“I'm sorry, Heyes,” Curry breathed, his voice just above a whisper. “I wasn't sure - I mean, I had no way of knowin' how fast the news would travel back to town. I tried - I did the best I could - guess it wasn't good enough!” his head dropped to his chest.
“What have you got to apologize for? Being alive? What happened, Kid? You and that woman are the only two who survived.”
Despite his extreme weariness, Curry's head snapped up. “One of the women made it, too?”
Heyes nodded, “Seems it takes more than a stagecoach accident to finish off good ol' Aunt Maude.”
Curry managed to summon up a tired grin. “After having spent considerable time with good ol' Aunt Maude, I'd have to agree. She sure knows how to fry up a chicken an' bake the best oatmeal cookies, too!” he boasted.
An answering grin on his face, Heyes couldn't help but think to himself, Like Aunt Maude, the Kid's appetite could survive almost anything! Belatedly, Heyes realized he hadn't released his hold on Curry's shoulders. He took a step backwards and let his arms fall to his sides. “So, how'd you end up here?”
Without Heyes' support, Curry swayed and dropped gratefully down into the chair Heyes had vacated. A cloud of dust rose around him. “Wasn't easy... I walked.”
“All the way into town?” Heyes whistled in amazement. “That's got to be at least seven or eight miles!”
“Eight an’ a half,” Curry corrected him with a grimace. “But I didn't have much choice. Sure didn't wanna stay out there alone... it was pretty bad. Two of the horses broke free; they took off when the stage tipped over.” He shuddered and drew in a ragged breath before he added quietly, “I couldn’t let the others suffer; I didn’t want to, but I had to shoot the two that were left. Never thought I was gonna make it to town, had to keep stoppin’ to rest… couldn’t travel very fast… there wasn’t much shade… no water...” Exhaling wearily, the exhausted outlaw fell silent and leaned back to rest his head against the chair.
Heyes waited, but nothing more was forthcoming. He sat in silence, his countenance thoughtful as he went over what Curry had said. Kid’s words might have given him a condensed version of the events, but his physical condition told the real story. Despite his ability to walk away from the accident, his partner hadn't escaped entirely without injury. Heyes’ watchful eyes monitored Curry as he fought to stay awake.
Although it was a valiant attempt, he finally lost the battle when his eyelids began to droop until they shuttered his eyes. Seconds later Kid grimaced and bit down on his lip. Beads of sweat dripped from his puckered brow.
Heyes seized the opportunity to take more critical stock of the other man, chagrined to realize that, in his elation at learning that the Kid was alive, he’d blatantly ignored a few important details. Details like the fact that Curry's pants had a jagged tear down the entire length of his left leg and that wasn't the worst of it. When Kid sat down the material had parted to reveal a deep gash caked with dried blood and dirt. Heyes’ eyes traveled upwards. A troubled expression of concern crossed his face when he discovered that his cousin's left coat sleeve hung empty at his side.
Eyes narrowed, Heyes reached out and eased the jacket back to reveal yet another crimson stain that ran the length from Curry's shoulder down to his waist. Other than a slight flinch at the initial touch, the sandy-haired man remained motionless, as well as silent, while Heyes looked him over. When he was done, Heyes wondered what other injuries his partner had sustained; these were only the ones that were visible to the eye.
“You and Aunt Maude get into a wrestling match for the last oatmeal cookie?” Heyes teased as he pushed the coat back even further and continued to poke and prod the wounded man's shoulder.
“I'd've looked worse than this if I had!” Curry retorted wryly. A second later he sucked in his breath and his eyes snapped open when Heyes hit a particularly sensitive spot.
Although he had heard the sharp intake of breath, it didn't deter Heyes from his objective. Relentless in his examination, he prompted, “You were going to tell me all about your little adventure, remember?”
“Ow – that’s enough already!” Curry protested and tried to twist away.
Heyes gave him a pointed look of warning and applied enough pressure to hold his patient firmly in place.
All the fight drained out of him as he was forced to concede defeat. Kid shot his partner an annoyed glare. “You want me to jus' sit here an' ignore what you're doin'... an' talk?” he growled between teeth now clenched tight against the pain.
“That's the idea; you talk while I finish looking you over. Sounds like a pretty fair deal, wouldn't you say?”
“No - I wouldn’t!” the wounded man snapped back irritably. “Fair deal my ass!”
“Now, now, Kid,” Heyes admonished. “You know what? You sure do get proddy when you get scratched up a bit. Tell you what I'm going to do; I'm going to let you in on a little secret.” He leaned in closer. “What I'm doing to you is nothing. Why, just wait until the doc gets his hands on you.” Brown eyes twinkling, Heyes grinned at the thunderous expression on his partner's face. “That's right, you heard me, the doc; just as soon as you're done telling me what happened.” He leaned back, arms crossed against his chest, arched a brow and waited.
The sandy-haired outlaw heaved a deep sigh of resignation and capitulated. “You're the talker, Heyes, I'm too worn out to even try an' talk my way outta this; you win.” There was a long pause. “I'm never gonna get that steak dinner… or that bath...” Curry grumbled plaintively. “Am I?”
“Oh, I wouldn't say that. A betting man would probably say the odds just might be in your favor,” Heyes replied, still grinning. After taking in the younger man's pallor when he grimaced again, Heyes’ expression was replaced by a frown. The Kid had abandoned any further attempts to mask his pain; in fact, he'd given in far too easily.
“C'mon, Kid, let's get you on over to that doc so he can get you patched up.” Heyes helped Curry to his feet and wrapped an arm around his partner's waist to give the man the extra support he needed to navigate across the street. “Maybe he'll even let you have some nice, warm broth,” he consoled Curry cheerfully.
“That's not funny, Heyes!” Curry growled, “There's nothin' wrong with my mouth, I can eat jus' fine!” The sandy-haired outlaw continued to grouse all the way to the doctor's office, pointedly ignoring the dimpled grin on his friend's face.
Yes, Heyes agreed, the odds were definitely in their favor, at least for the time being. But even as the dark-haired outlaw drew in a grateful breath, glad to have his partner back safely at his side, he was also forced to acknowledge an indisputable fact:
It was only a matter of time before once again they'd be taking their chances... “Against the Odds.”
_________________ "My task, which I am trying to achieve is, by the power of the written word, to make you hear, to make you feel -- it is, before all, to make you see..." ~~ Joseph Conrad ~~